Category Archives: France

La vie en rose.

Design Fast Websites – Don’t blame the rounded corners! on YUI Theater

Nicole at the Design Fast Websites Presentation by Eric Miraglia

I visited Yahoo! last week to record a talk I had given at the Front End Summit in October. If you are a designer or an F2E it is essential that you understand the ways in which design choices impact overall site performance. This talk establishes guidelines for High Performance Design including 9 Best Practices.

9 Best Practices

  1. Create a component library of smart objects.
  2. Use consistent semantic styles.
  3. Design modules to be transparent on the inside.
  4. Optimize images and sprites.
  5. Avoid non-standard browser fonts.
  6. Use columns rather than rows.
  7. Choose your bling carefully.
  8. Be flexible.
  9. Learn to love grids.

Baby Steps to a Faster Site

In honor of the video being made available on YUI theater, I’ve removed the non-standard browser fonts from my site. While the design was changed slightly it is infinitely more maintainable and I also eliminated an unnecessary HTTP request at the same time. One more step to a faster page.

Web Directions North, Denver, February 2-7

I’ll be speaking more about Design and also CSS best practices at Web Directions North in February where I’ve been invited to give both a Performance Bootcamp Workshop and a CSS Performance for Websites and Web Apps Presentation. I look forward to seeing you there!

Check out the Web Directions North Program.

They have some really amazing speakers lined up. I’m especially excited to talk to Dan Cederholm, who wrote one of my favorite books.

ParisWeb Performance Web Videos et slides disponible

80% des problèmes de performance Web se situe au niveau des échanges avec le navigateur et sur le navigateur lui-même : échanges réseau, rendu dans le navigateur, organisation des composants dans une page etc.

Nous aborderons les principales problématiques et les solutions à mettre en œuvre. Forts de l’expérience de l’équipe performance de Yahoo!, à la fin de cette session vous saurez aborder la question des performances Web du point de vue du visiteur et mettre en œuvre les actions correctrices sur vos sites Web.

Video de la presentation (dailymotion)

Slides de la presentation Pourquoi le Performance Web?

Optimisation des Images : Les 7 erreurs à éviter at ParisWeb

Je vais parler (en francais! eek!) avec Eric Daspet de la performance des images pour le web a ParisWeb. Les inscriptions pour Paris Web 2008 sont officiellement ouvertes. Jusqu’au 15 octobre au soir, vous bénéficierez de tarifs réduits. Le conference sera lieu a Paris le 13-15 Novembre. J’attend vous voir bientot alors. ;)

Voila le proposition

Voulez-vous améliorer la vitesse de vos pages web et réduire l’impact écologique et monétaire de votre hébergement ? Voulez-vous faire ceci avec peu de changement de code et en gardant une belle interface graphique ? Cette session va vous apprendre les 7 étapes pour mettre votre site web au régime. Comment perdre des poids que votre site a pris en rajoutant les dernières nouveautés. Et, encore plus important, comment ne pas reprendre ce poids !

Quand on commence un site de zéro, il est forcement très rapide. Au fur et à mesure, en rajoutant des modules, des flux, des images, l’expérience de l’utilisateur devient plus riche, mais aussi plus frustrante quand l’internaute est forcé d’attendre trop longtemps pour le chargement de la page. De premier abord, l’optimisation des images semble basique, facile. Néanmoins, la plupart des sites les plus réputés au monde ne suivent pas encore tous les standards pour l’optimisation des images. Faites-vous les mêmes erreurs ?

L’audience va apprendre comment :

  1. Améliorer la vitesse des pages web
  2. Optimiser les poids des images
  3. Eviter les pièges les plus problématiques et implémenter les petits astuces pour rendre les sites plus performant. Utilisez-vous encore alphaImageLoader ? Quel type de dégradé est le moins performant ?
  4. Arranger vos sprites pour iPhone. Comment contourner ses limites de cache ?

iPhone, the morning after

My Treo stopped syncing in January and I immediately started missing all my meetings. I need the device to ring every few seconds to remind me to blink and breathe, so life without a properly synced agenda was awful — just ask my colleagues. Guppy brain.

A Palm user for the past eight years, I made the switch to an iPhone 3G a few weeks ago. I’ve had one palm or another since I was gifted an S300 and became (shockingly) a productive member of society. I vaguely want to give the iPhone a fair shot, aware that my bias toward familiarity is inevitable, however there are a few things about the iPhone that totally and completely suck.

10 15 things I hate about you.

  1. Keyboard. A massive indescribable time sink.
  2. Default search makes me want to beg forgiveness and ask my Palm to take me back. I know, the Palm doesn’t sync, we’re not good for each other, but iPhone search bar is that bad.

    Happily, there is a solution. Yahoo! search for iPhone totally rocks. Auto complete, keyword suggestions, and search history are totally fab. Don’t understand the importance of this? See rant #1. The UI is slick without being gratuitous. It allows me to get stuff done faster.

    iphone by kitcowan

    iphone by kitcowan

    My suggestion, save search as an icon on the desktop so you never have to use the nasty default search bar.

    Easy 4 step solution

    1. Navigate to http://search.yahoo.com/i/ in Safari
    2. Click +
    3. Choose Add to Home Screen.
    4. Press and hold the icon that appears until it wiggles, then slide it onto the first screen.

    Voila, even more time saved and you don’t have to deal with the absurdly awful default search.

    Could it be expanded to search appointments, contacts, memos, songs, sms, email, etc.? I can only hope.

  3. No text select, copy, or paste. To understand my pain, see rant #1.
  4. No menus. No common, standard way to find anything including what you can do within an app. Yay! Relearning everything for each new app is super fun…
  5. Safari doesn’t remember passwords or auto-complete any form fields previously used. To understand my pain, see rant #1.
  6. Horizontal scrolling. Text is often too small to see or too wide to fit on the screen. Websites need to find ways to easily toggle to a linear view for iPhone users (let the user choose). If you use YUI grids this is dead simple.
  7. Calls fail as often as not.
  8. Not enough bars and dropped calls.
  9. All this finger swooping UI action makes for great commercials, but between that and the track pad on my MacBook Pro, my finger hurts!
  10. Swooping fingers mean the screen is grubby and greasy always.
  11. Conversations! Google invented the idea, but nobody is getting it right. Fundamentally sms, email, twitter, chat, blog posts, flickr images and comments, meeting invites, tumblr, etc are all variations on conversations with a more or less wide audience. I am super annoyed to need to check all over the place to get the same info, and even more annoyed that each device requires different set of apps and procedures. Recall the guppy brain. I want a kind of Uber-Adium product.
  12. Battery life.
  13. Finding contacts, or really anything (See rant #2) – Sure, scrolling is cool and the fab UI effects like the bouncing back are really cute the first time you see them. But ultimately, I’m trying to find contact details, not play with a jazzy interface. Palm allows you to search for first letter of the first name plus a few letters of the last name. For example, John Smith can quickly be found by searching for “jsmi”. This quickly matches things exclusively and avoids scrolling through massive lists of potential matches. iPhone does not have contact search which makes it nearly impossible to look up a number and safely make a call while driving.
  14. Crashing. Reminiscent of Windows constant reboots. I thought I was done with all that?
  15. The iPhone is not a productivity tool. I want to get in, get the info I need, and get out, so I can live my life. This device was clearly designed by someone who imagined users sitting around staring lovingly, and swooping through screens while crooning “my precious”. Get over yourselves, I bought the thing because my Treo wouldn’t sync anymore.

That said, there are some things I really like about the iPhone, but this is a rant, so I’ll save that for another time.

Immigrant meta-culture

The capellini and eggplant at the Sheraton was nothing special, but the bartender made me a martini French style with sweet vermouth. The drink reminded me, the way it always does, of aperitif in my tiny apartment on the border of Chinatown in the 13th arrondissement in Paris. The bar on the hotel patio had been rented out to the hair group for their company party. Unseasonably cold weather drove the party inside where loud, very plastic women flirted with wannabe-actors. Being in L.A. really is different than anywhere else I’ve ever been.

The quiet guy next to me at the bar glanced over a couple of times. He looked more like me, a business traveler getting his dinner, his laptop on the bar. The place got more and more crowded and somehow we began to speak. I suppose he started it. By the time our dinner arrived, he moved to the seat next to mine so we wouldn’t have to shout.

I probably should have been playing the tourist at the third street promenade, but I was still holding out hope that I would finish writing an article on background images for a series that Opera is putting together. More on that later. Anyway, this could be some clichéd story, but actually he and I had a really interesting conversation about a new culture that is arising out of essentially fitting nowhere.

Anyone that has lived abroad for more than a few years, understands fundamentally not fitting. When I moved to Paris, I expected it to be a culture shock, to really change my ideas. It’s natural, I had to learn the language, and more than that, figure out how to make my way in a culture with vastly different values and customs than my own. To my surprise then, the biggest not-fitting had nothing to do with my adopted culture, but rather the first time I returned home after truly becoming French somewhere deep in my core. It’s only then that you realize your instincts are off, you find odd those who share the culture you once considered as natural as water to a fish.

Dario confirmed that ultimately, when you’ve truly adopted another culture, you can never feel ordinary again. I will be an etranger for the rest of my life. I only feel French when I’m in the States, and I only feel American in Paris. I can only imagine what California is doing to my brain as we speak. In fact, just last night I casually told a group of people about buying a treadmill for my dog, without once thinking that this was a little eccentric.

I wrote about The Namesake, an excellent book about Indians moving to Cambridge for graduate school. When I read it, I wasn’t thinking about the cultural differences of the Indian family, I was empathizing with a situation that so closely resembled my own. These same stories echo in people from around the world. I know an Indian married to a Jewish American woman, living in Boston. I’m an American who married a Frenchman and we’ve lived in Boston, France, and the Silicon Valley. I work with a Bulgarian who has lived in Canada and California. I went to school with Algerians living in the banlieue. I have friends here who have American children though both parents are foreign (what does a word like foreign or international even mean anymore?). I sang with Brits living in Nairobi. And, on this night, I talked to a Spanish man living in New York.

These people, pioneers really, are comfortable everywhere, even as they fit perfectly nowhere. They’ll never have the luxury of believing that their home is perfect or being so firm in their ideas that they don’t even notice them. No matter where they settle, they’ll miss something, or someone, from everywhere they’ve ever lived. And each knows, that they can never truly go home again. In each place, they’ll only feel all the more strongly the parts of them that are drawn to another home. They’ll mix up languages and use words that don’t belong. For me it is dégradé, I simply cannot remember the word in English, at least not while speaking.

Similarly, I’ve come to believe everyone should have access to healthcare, an idea that is only beginning to be considered other than shockingly left wing, in my own country. For an Indian friend, the press of people in Bombay feels slightly overwhelming. Or a Frenchwoman, with her stroller stuck in the sand in Cannes, prefers American friendliness to French politesse. You might think that fitting nowhere is a lonely place to be, and you’d be right, it can be. But I’ve discovered that these multicultural people fit well with each other. No matter where they’ve come from, or moved to, it seems that the archetype of the immigrant is strong enough to bond them in a common un-culture. I enjoy the sense of humor that comes with personal understanding of just how transitory strongly held beliefs can be when you begin to look at them from the eyes of the other. When you begin to be other.